Bad News For the Rest of the Country
December 3, 2008 by Mara Strom
The cost of college tuition is skyrocketing around the country with one exception: California. In a recent study by the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, the state of
California is the only state in the Union that got a passing mark for affordability of in-state tuition.
The biennial study evaluates how well higher education is serving the in-state residents. 49 states earned an F, up from 43 states just two years ago. Only California squeaked by with a passing grade — a C — thanks to its inexpensive network of community colleges. The main cause for the nearly across-the-board flunking? The inaffordability of school, which is calculated based on what percentage tuition represents of the average family’s income.
Since the 2000 study, only two states (New York and Tennessee) have improved — but only minimally, and not enough to bump their grades out of the failing range. In 47 other states, the relative cost of tuition increased. The biggest jump was in Pennsylvania, where the average cost of a public four-year education jumped from 29 percent of a family’s income in 2000 to a whopping 41 percent in 2008.
The bad news is going to keep on coming, according to the study. According to Patrick Callan, the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education’s president, the situation will more the likely get worse during the downturn: “States make disproportionate cuts in higher education and, in return for the colleges taking them gracefully, allow them to raise tuition. If we handle this recession like we’ve handled others, we will see that this gets worse.” (Philadelphia Inquirer)
If you want to learn more about scholarships (AKA free money for school!), stay tuned for tomorrow’s Scholarship Thursday, where I’ll post three scholarship opportunities with upcoming deadlines.